Update - 12th Jan 2021

https://6640a79db9c3444d1003-4a9c99b81dcbea2f6796c24ed462b931.ssl.cf3.rackcdn.com/ns_img_52_b0e509_2V4A2612_-_750x250.jpg image

In our statement last week, we said we would keep you updated on what we are doing to represent you during these difficult times. We know many of you still have unanswered questions and are feeling unsupported - we are on your side. 

Yesterday, Students’ Union President Emily attended the University’s Pandemic Planning Group which is chaired by the Vice Chancellor Professor Sue Rigby and includes the senior management team. Emily has been in regular contact with the University since the new lockdown was announced but this was her first formal opportunity to outline our demands for better support for Bath Spa students. The meeting discussed a number of issues including rent rebates and ‘no detriment’/safety net policy. 

‘No detriment’/Safety Net policy

Many of you were disappointed with the University’s email last week regarding ‘no detriment’ and we are on your side. We know academic staff are and have been working incredibly hard throughout the pandemic to adjust learning and teaching and support students. However, that does not take away from the fact that many of you are unable to produce your best work right now and this needs to be taken into account. Emily contributed to a productive discussion of the issues at the meeting yesterday and we await further updates which we hope will provide reassurance to all students, including postgraduates. We are grateful for all the feedback you have provided which strengthens our argument with the University. And we are particularly grateful for the hard work of our fantastic Course Reps who are continuing to make sure the student voice is heard during a really difficult time. 

The Vice Chancellor is hosting a number of open sessions this week in order to hear from students particularly on the issue of ‘no detriment’. At least one of us is attending all of the sessions and we encourage you to attend to make your voice heard. You can sign up here.

Rent rebates for University accommodation

The email from the Vice Chancellor yesterday confirmed this decision is now with the Board of Governors. At the meeting yesterday, Emily reinforced our belief that it is unacceptable for students to have to pay for accommodation they have been told they cannot use and we are hopeful for some positive news soon.

Rent rebates for Unite accommodation

Unite Students announced yesterday that they are offering a 50% rent rebate for 4 weeks for those not living in their accommodation. This is not good enough. With the support of the University, we will continue to lobby Unite and MPs for the full rebates you deserve, working alongside other students across the country who live in Unite halls.

Rent rebates for other private accommodation

Unfortunately, securing rent rebates for housing rented by private landlords is more complex and will require a Government intervention. With the support of the University and working alongside the National Union of Students (NUS), we will lobby landlords, Bath and North East Somerset Council and MPs for the financial support you deserve. 

Take action on rent rebates

Getting money back for all students in any accommodation you have been told you cannot use is not straight forward but we believe students deserve better and we are determined to win. We encourage you to keep making your voice heard, sign the “Reimburse student rents for all accommodation not used during this academic year” petition and to contact your MP to let them know about your experiences. 

Pandemic Support Fund 

We’re pleased to have worked with the University to shape the new Pandemic Support Fund which is now open. The fund is available to help students who are financially struggling due to the pandemic, including not being able to afford to pay rent. If you are in need of additional financial support, please apply as soon as possible. 

Teacher Training

We realise this is a difficult time for those studying initial teacher training - thank you to those of you who have contacted us and for raising your concerns on Unitu. We know the School of Education is in regular contact with students and Course Reps to keep you updated on the latest decisions in relation to Government guidelines and your placements. We will continue to champion your interests at all the Covid planning meetings we attend. 

Our work continues locally and nationally 

Our job is to represent you and your interests and we are continuing to do this on a daily basis at a local level in our various meetings with University staff and at a national level in conversations with NUS and Sabbatical Officers from Students’ Unions across the country. We will also be submitting evidence to the recently announced All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Students enquiry into the case for compensation for university students, which provides a great opportunity to raise the issues Bath Spa students are facing to those with power.

As ever, please get in touch if you have any comments, questions or concerns or if there is anything else we can do to represent and support you during these challenging times.

Emily, Ceri, Meg and Jack

Your 2020/21 Sabbatical Officer Team